What is Demand Responsive Transport?

Demand responsive transport or DRT, is the emerging technology in community transport services.  This level of transport service provision enables optimising your existing resources, such as your drivers and vehicles to ensure your increased passenger demand can be met.  It also involves ensuring your staff are readily equipped with streamlined workflows and processes to work stress free in order to deliver a real-time service.

Although the term demand responsive transport sounds extremely technical you don’t need to worry, because all it means is that instead of booking your journeys long into the future, you are now just reducing the gap between booking a journey from say 2 days in advance to 20 minutes or less.  How do you do this you might ask?  Well it’s simple.  GPS technology brings down the time you need prior to a booking taking place.  This technology is available on the Road XS platform.

Why GPS Tracking is the Enabler for Demand Responsive Transport

With GPS technology you know exactly where your vehicles and drivers are at any given time.  This means you don’t have to estimate what time they might arrive or whereabouts they are on a trip.  So things like traffic, road works or just general delays all get factored in.  It also means that your passengers know precisely what time their driver is going to be arriving to pick them up. This is extremely useful, especially for a passenger who might be anxious or worried about someone not turning up to get them to an event.  

This completely optimises your services and removes a lot of the guesswork.  Very often, demand responsive transport is a phrase associated with the use of minibuses or dial a ride services, but we don’t see it that way.  We think that community car schemes also work as a demand responsive transport service.  A volunteer driver is still driving a vehicle, this means they can still pick people up, and there is nothing stopping a car becoming a dial a ride service either!  This is why Road XS has been built as an integrated transport platform, meaning you can combine all your services to deliver the best possible transport service to your passengers as, how and when they need it!

The Future of Demand Responsive Transport

If you think about it, no matter what transport service you are running, it’s all about getting your passenger safely to their destination.  With demand responsive transport you have the opportunity to optimise your entire service.  So to put this in perspective, what this means is that you might have a passenger travel to the shops on a minibus, but then get picked up soon after in a community car with a volunteer driver to take them to their afternoon event.  Later on that afternoon the same passenger is then picked up by a community minibus and taken back home. 

Notice how in the above example, the transport service moulds around the passenger’s life seamlessly?  That’s because demand responsive transport in our view is just that, it’s a hidden service which is moulding around your passenger’s life.  

The thing is you might be thinking this makes a transport manager’s life really difficult!  Well not with Road XS.  We’ve built Road XS to make the transport manager’s life and team as easy as possible so that they don’t have to worry about driver and vehicle schedules, Road XS just provides all the available vehicles and drivers at the click of a button, ever-changing to the demands of the passengers using the service.   

Benefits of a Demand Responsive Transport Software

In order to deliver an efficient transport service you need to consider a number of factors.  You need to pick a forward thinking transport service which can adapt with you over time.  The reason for this is that your services will always be changing, be it new contracts or increased demands, changing mobility needs or even legislative change to name a few.  You need to ensure your services are always growing and moving forwards because this means your services then become more sustainable and can help more people in your local community!  Word spreads fast this way!

So what are the benefits of having a demand responsive transport service and platform?

1) Increased Efficiencies and Resources

No doubt your services have only a finite amount of resources and yet your passengers continue to demand more and more from you.  Well the way to solve this is through group travel and ride share.  Not only is this good for the environment but it’s also good for people socially too!  Think about all those conversations they can have on the bus or car together, that’s the social inclusion box ticked right there!

2) Arrival Times Get Smarter

No longer is your passenger waiting with an estimate of arrival, they are actually able to see where their ride and journey is before it even gets to them.  This means that people gain a better sense of control and can get ready in advance, so they are literally ready on the dot!  It also ensures that they are made aware of any delays too on the trip or if their pickup has to detour around some road works.

3) Increased Safety

When GPS is enabled and you embrace demand responsive transport, safety goes up.  Why might you ask?  Simply because in the worst case scenario you experience a crash, you know exactly where that crash happened and can alert the emergency services of the precise location.  It means you have the last known location of the vehicle at all times during a journey. 

4) It’s Good for the Environment

Your mileage and carbon footprint drop with demand responsive transport because you are running from optimised routes and you are utilising fewer vehicles at any given time.  So this means you don’t have to send out a second vehicle to pick someone up you can just slot someone into an existing route which is already pre-planned or slotted in on demand.

5) Reduce the Booking Window

With demand responsive transport you can reduce your booking window so you don’t have to have passengers booking in advance.  You can have a passenger book say for a journey within 20 minutes because the demand responsive transport software knows the location of active drivers close to the passengers given location.  This means you can better handle unscheduled cancellations better because you can then reallocate those drivers and cover the gaps left by unforeseen events.

There are a whole host of other benefits of utilising demand responsive transport and GPS tracking technologies for your services.  Certainly at Road XS we’re only just beginning to scratch the service of what’s possible with our machine learning and GPS capabilities.  One thing’s for sure though, we’re taking away all the complexities of complex planning and schedules and making the whole process fluid and streamlined giving you time to grow your services and become fully sustainable in the process. 

To find out more feel free to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.  Why not check out the Road XS Podcast here.

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